The Federal Trade Commission could decide to permit or block Google's proposed purchase of AdMob as soon as this Friday, according to reports.
The agency had previously promised both companies to render a decision on Google's long-sought $750-million buy before last Monday, officials told The New York Times on Tuesday. But news that Apple planned to purchase Quattro Wireless -- another mobile advertising company -- prompted new questions this week about the effects of Google's merger on competition.
The move could be regarded as a positive for Google. Fears that the search giant would leverage its gains in Web advertising as it entered the blossoming mobile ad industry previously prompted speculation that the FTC would challenge its AdMob deal.
But Apple's recent emergence in the field with the introduction of its iAd service would seem to support Google's claim that competition is already thriving in the mobile advertising world. Whether FTC reviewers and federal lawmakers agree, however, remains to be seen.